Category: Blog

Rheumatoid Arthritis and Gum Disease: Have Same Origins?

The Bone Destructive Diseases Are Linked

Rheumatoid Arthritis or RA is an autoimmune disease causing chronic joint pain. In RA, the immune system, instead of attacking the body’s enemies – bacteria, viruses, toxins – is attacking the body’s joints. The abnormal response leads to inflammation and damage of the joints. And being a systemic condition, RA may affect other organs and body systems.

Along with pain, people with RA experience fatigue, loss of appetite and a low-grade fever. RA symptoms and effects come and go, sometimes there is a period of high disease activity called a flare; it can last for days or months. During this activity, other organs can be affected – painful, red and sensitive eyes, inflamed blood vessels, lumps under the skin, and dry mouth and irritated gums or gum infection.

Rheumatoid Arthritis and Periodontal Disease

Research has long recognized the link between periodontal disease and RA. Studies have shown that those with RA are more likely to have periodontal disease than those without RA. A German study, in fact, found that the rate of periodontitis was 8 times higher in those who have the autoimmune disorder. Additionally, their periodontitis is more severe and involves more tooth loss than those who do not have RA.

The link between the two chronic diseases can be seen in certain inflammatory biomarkers which both have at elevated levels. They also have the same genetic markers, present in people with both RA and progressive periodontitis. Both also have the same mechanism of action.

Periodontal inflammation damages the gums and supporting ligaments around teeth, invading the jawbone and causing bone loss. RA brings about inflammation that attacks the soft tissue that lines the joints (the synovium), progresses to the bone, eventually destroying it.

Now, of significant scientific interest is the role of a particular species of bacteria, Porphyromonas gingivalis or P. gingivalis, often found in both periodontitis and RA. Researchers say it can be the causative pathogen for both conditions. It is unique than other bacteria in that it contains an enzyme that the body recognizes as a foreign substance.

It may be the one responsible for the autoimmune response in RA, but if it is also found in periodontitis, could it mean that periodontal disease may have an autoimmune component, too? Certainly, more research is needed to prove this hypothesis.

Caring For Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients in Bellevue

It becomes more critical for patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis to have frequent dental visits to monitor their gum health. Our team at Overlake Dental see to our patients more prone to gum disease because of their medical conditions.

What’s Common Between Osteoporosis and Gum Disease?

The Link: Bone Loss

Osteoporosis is a skeletal condition characterized by reduction in bone mass and changes in the micro architecture in bone. This disease leads to increased bone fragility and in many cases, fracture. Living bone, which constantly breaks down and is replaced, will no longer be able to keep up when osteoporosis sets in. Bone resorption or breakdown will overtake new bone deposition. The main causes of osteoporosis are aging, menopause (brought about by estrogen deficiency), and lack of Vitamin D and calcium. It also has a direct relationship on oral and dental health.


Osteoporosis tend to affect women more than men. Menopausal women can suffer less dense and brittle bones, making them susceptible to fracture, notably of the wrists and hips. Their jawbone supporting the teeth can weakened and lead to tooth mobility and tooth loss. Other dental issues can manifest if the jawbone is low in density, such as loose or ill-fitting dentures. The condition can impair oral surgical procedures, such as dental implantation, which may be contraindicated.

Periodontal disease

Periodontal disease is the progressive loss of supportive gingival tissue in the gums and jawbone. It may involve development of gum pockets, bleeding and loss of attachment. If untreated, bacteria colonies can cause systematic destruction of gum tissue, and eventually the underlying bone.

Both osteoporosis and periodontal diseases are bone destructive diseases, it has been hypothesized that osteoporosis could be a risk factor for the progression of periodontal disease. If osteoporosis is not addressed, periodontal inflammation can further weakened bone until it breaks down. This is why periodontitis can be more progressive in patients with osteoporosis.

Treatment for osteoporosis involves estrogen supplements or estrogen replacement therapy. Estrogen lowers the rate of attachment loss and also lowers gingival inflammation, which in turn protects teeth from periodontal disease. Studies have shown that women receiving osteoporosis treatment had less periodontal probing depth and clinical attachment loss and less gum bleeding than those who did not receive therapy. It was also found that higher family income and more frequent consultations with a dentist were associated with a lower prevalence of periodontitis.

Close Osteoporosis and Periodontal Watch in Bellevue

If the medical doctor and your Bellevue dentist work together in tandem to closely monitor the patients that are at an increased risk of developing both diseases, it can lead to better management and control.

Alzheimer’s and Gum Disease are Linked

Gum Health And General Health

It is well documented that links exist between the health of the mouth and diseases that affect other parts of the body. Every new research points to their association. Studies are proving that conditions like heart disease, diabetes, stroke, obesity, reflux disease, and others can impact oral health and vice versa. Such studies can help the medical field and the dental profession provide interventions to help affected sufferers reduce their risks and improve lives.

Gum Disease and Periodontitis

Now there is a new study, published in Alzheimer’s Research & Therapy, this time making the link between gum disease and Alzheimer’s disease. It discovered that people who have suffered from gum disease for ten years or longer are 70 percent more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.

It’s a huge study involving 25,000, examining those who are 50 years of age and older who have chronic periodontitis, the severe form of gingivitis. The study, however, did not determine any direct causal link between the two conditions, but have observed that the incidence of Alzheimer’s is higher in those who have long-standing gum disease.

There’s a very small study, though, that also points to the link. Twenty patients were examined, half have dementia, the other none. Gum bacteria was found in some patients with dementia.
Experts hypothesized that gum bacteria can enter the bloodstream through everyday activities – eating, chewing, toothbrushing – and can be carried to other parts of the body, including the brain. They can trigger an immune system response, killing brain cells and leading to changes in the brain, typical in Alzheimer’s.

That be so, still, gum disease is a preventable and treatable infection of the gums. By making sure that you take care of your oral health, you will decrease your risks for its associated medical conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease. So if you have beginning gingivitis, you must be able to take steps early enough to arrest the condition that it does not lead to periodontitis.

Proper dental hygiene is the cornerstone of good oral health. Regular brushing and flossing at least twice a day with fluoride will protect teeth and gums. Keeping your dental appointments is another must. A healthy lifestyle with regards to diet and habits also help. The best approach is certainly prevention.

Preventing Medical Conditions with Healthy Gums

Be sure you keep teeth and gums healthy with regular dental visitations. You may just keep medical situations at bay with regular help from your dentist. Come by Ovelake Dental and consult with us regarding gum health.

Technology and the Patient-Dentist Bond

The Ties That Bind

Technology has indeed impacted positively on dental care, broadening the horizons and leading to discoveries and advancements making possible state-of-the-art dentistry. Technology applies to almost everything dentistry – from diagnostics to impression-taking, restoration design to 3D printing images, and many more. While dental practitioners are becoming more adept with today’s innovations, becoming knowledgeable in different applications, be it in clinical or laboratory scenarios, is technology taking away something that used to bind dentist and patient?

What has technology brought to dental practice? How does it affect the professional practitioner? How about his patients? Is the connectivity between care provider and care receiver changed much?

Technology has brought competence to dental practice, inspiring confidence in new and existing patients. A dental office with up-to-date setting, including its chairs, machinery, materials, and a tech-savvy staff are telling prospects and callers how seriously capable is the practice. It’s the impression that the dentist is staying abreast with the newest advances, continually learning for his own good and the good of his practice.

The benefits of technology cascade to patients who see it applied to them with legitimate and tangible results. Patients hear and are made to understand what a particular technology can do. Technologies introduced into practice are enabling greater precision, productivity, and time savings than methods from the past. Restorations can be done in hours rather than weeks, radiation exposures are limited to its lowest levels making imaging safer, lasers can make quick work of cavities and gum tissue with pin-point precision, and these are some of the advantages of high technology.

Dental Technology in Bellevue Overlake Dental

Technology has enhanced communication between dentist and patient. Text and email messages keep both parties easily and conveniently in touch. Automatically generated appointment reminders improve patient compliance and tracking leading to better office efficiency. Modern social media has created closer ties and genuine familiarity between the parties. While technology improved connectivity, still the personal relationship matters most. Rather than creating barriers, technology proved to have more pros than cons.

At Overlake Dental, patients clearly see and experience the benefits of high technology in most of our approaches and techniques. What is also as clear as daylight is the bond we nurture with all our clients. It’s what giving care is all about, really.

Helping Your Child Overcome Fear of the Dentist

Best Techniques for a Happy First Timer

Did you know that the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that a child’s first visit to the dentist is by age 1, or within six months of the eruption of his or her first tooth? However, many parents are not aware of this recommendation or are somewhat apprehensive themselves.

It turns out that 2.6 years is the average age of a child’s first visit, as a survey declared. Hence, many children have not seen a dentist until well after the time recommended.

As a parent, you may be unsure how your child will react at his first time at the dentist’s. Your own fearful experience might have been communicated without you realizing it. You might have deferred it for too long especially if your child has issues of his own. All you want is to make him comfortable on his first appointment so that succeeding visits will be a breeze. Here are a few helpful tips to get you started and with less anxieties.

Firstly, you must be seen by your child as the perfect role model of dental health. Show him how you take care of your own teeth and gums. Encourage him in the proper home care of his teeth and gums and to be responsible about doing it regularly everyday. Tell him why it’s important and the benefits for him.

You can bring your child to your dental appointments to appreciate the surroundings and to interact with friendly staff. It must be a place he will feel at ease. Or you can play act the role of dentist-patient, with available toys that can serve as tools of the trade. Play time must be exciting and fun to prick his interest. Your dialogue must always be happy and positive.

Instill in your child trust in the dentists and his staff, that they are nice, friendly and helpful. If a procedure needs to be done, don’t say everything will be ok if he is bound to feel discomfort. Just be by his side, providing comfort and assurance.

Lastly, be aware of the recommended age of first visit – either by first birthday or first tooth out time. The earlier you expose your child to the dentist, the sooner will he appreciate the encounter. This will also limit the issues to light ones and prepare the child for more complex procedures in the future.

Happy First Encounters in Bellevue

Bring your child to Overlake Dental for his first, happy dental experience. We know children so well, they become our patient-friends for a long, long time. That’s only here at Bellevue.